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Having the music of Jerry Goldsmith on the brain (yesterday being his birthday), I couldn’t help but think about one of his final film scores: Star Trek: Nemesis (2002). Billed from the outset as the final adventure of the Star Trek: The Next Generation cast (most of whom had been in their roles since 1987), there was a heightened sense of excitement as the release date for this film approached. Everyone wanted to see what would happen, how would the series end, etc. And then the film came out…
I was only 14 when I saw Nemesis for the first time, and I remember loving it just as much as Insurrection. But as I grew older, I began to read that Star Trek: Nemesis had been rather poorly received, that it was even considered the worst of the films (a strong statement given that Star Trek V: The Final Frontier usually receives that dubious distinction). But what hurt me the most was the criticisms I heard about Jerry Goldsmith’s score for Nemesis. People were saying that this film was “not his best effort” and that the themes were “overly simplistic.”
With all due respect, anyone who says these things about a work of Jerry Goldsmith does not understand how the man worked. By 2002, Goldsmith had been working in Hollywood for over fifty years, his skills honed into a finely tuned art. He knew, more than anyone else I suspect, what kind of music Star Trek: Nemesis needed. Since this film marked the end of an era (the reboot not being planned yet), Goldsmith created a score that was intentionally somber. Of course the music ends on a hopeful note, but the tone is meant to be sad; the long-running adventure is finally ending, companions are parting ways, all of this should evoke a sense of impending loss.
And as for the themes being overly simplistic…listen to the soundtrack album, or even part of the album, without dialogue or sound effects, and try to tell me that the music is “simplistic.” (I particularly recommend “Ideals” from the soundtrack).
Maybe I’m just biased because I grew up watching Star Trek: The Next Generation…but I hear nothing wrong in the scores Goldsmith created. Just some random thoughts.
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